We think of the New Year as a way to start over fresh. I am sure you have heard the phrase “New Year, New Me” which is so cliche because it normally doesn’t happen and even though we want to forget the past and look only to the future we usually fail. We want to change previous outcomes and hopefully prevent the same mistakes for hope of a better future. So we make negative New Year resolutions like giving up caffeine, certain foods, social media, relationships, etc. We even might make positive resolutions like losing weight, exercising more, or going to the gym. These are fine but we only do them for two weeks and quit. Why don’t we follow through? Do we just promise these things to make us feel better for a short period? Is there hope?
Here are a few questions for you. What if Jesus didn’t follow through on his resolutions? Where would we be now? What would our outcome be? These are hard questions to stomach. The problem may not be our commitment to (insert resolution here). Our problem may be committing. We need to learn to follow through.
Trust me, we all have things we want to change or overcome. We all have desires and hopes to move forward and forget the past. We all hope to overcome emotional, physical and mental issues such as addictions to drugs, alcohol, or pornography, selfishness, depression, anxiety, physical pain, trauma. We know we can’t do it alone and can only achieve our resolutions by only one specific way: through Jesus. If we want something to last then we need to look at Jesus, who overcame all struggles. His sacrifice changed the outcome for you and me, and if we choose him he can accomplish great things in us and help us defeat the things that plague us.
Look to God and his Word for the answers. Jesus overcame the devil, temptation, and most importantly death; death on a cross to be the ultimate payment for our sin, so that redemption and resolutions can be possible. Why? Because he loves us. He cares more about you and I then we can fathom and realize. He desires a personal relationship with you so that you can have eternal life with him. He wants us to live a life that pleases him but because we sin he had to demonstrate his love and power in through dying on a cross for our sins.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
If we die to ourselves and allow God to reign in our lives than we can be assured that he is going to fight for us to achieve the healthy, godly “resolutions” we make. So put your faith in him. Oswald Chamber said, “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the ONE leading.” Feel confident whatever trial, temptation, or struggle that makes you feel like you can’t accomplish your resolution can be overcome by the One who leads you. Have faith in him to perfect that change.
God is the giver of second chances. See how Peter asks Jesus about forgiveness of sins. In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus teaches him about second chances. “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” If he tells us to forgive others that many times, you can be sure he forgives us with endless second chances as well. I like how Rick Warren says it: “God specializes in giving people a fresh start.” It brings a fresh perspective that God loved us so much he was and is continually willing to give us fresh starts in life.
So remember that Jesus’s sacrifice allows us to have second, third, fourth chances and so on. We don’t deserve them but his love for us allows us to overcome and achieve our resolutions. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and ask him to change us as we strive our best. Ask him to change you and empower you to live out the change! If you don’t know him, if you feel empty, broken, alone, and haven’t experienced the overwhelming love of the father let me be the first to encourage you to let that be your New Years Resolution: to get to know him and develop that personal relationship. Ask him into your life, ask him to take control, ask him to lead you!
If you want that relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-10 shows you how to accept him as your personal savior. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Let him be your resolution! HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU! It will change your life forever!
"I'm Christian as I believe in mostly Christian beliefs. Although, I'm not too terribly fond of overly organized religion. I think it's more of an, 'I'll figure it out on my own' rather than 'Take it from someone I don't know' sorta deal."
- Millennial, age 16
"Millennials aspire to marry the blue skies thinking of the Boomers with the grass-roots mindset of Gen X."
- Mal Fletcher